Students today must compete for jobs not only with their peers, but with students from around the globe. We, as educators, must be aware of the “global job market” and teach our students “with an eye to the international benchmarks of success.” (Alliance for Excellent Education on International Competition)
While the U. S. was comparable with many other countries on lower levels, it is obvious we need to work harder to get students to the advanced level. Also, it must be noted that by 8th grade, the Japanese students improved their percentage, while the United States’ students declined.
While the percentages were much closer at the 4th grade level, it should be noted that once again, the Japanese students improved their percentages from 4th to 8th grade, while the students in the United States saw a decline once again!
The United States has substantial inequities in achievement across the country, and international surveys show that the performance gap between the most- and least-proficient students in the United States is among the highest of all OECD countries (Kirsch et al. 2007). Unless the United States begins to prepare all students for college and the modern workplace, America’s disturbing downward trend will only get worse.
Schools operated in this fashion to allow students time to do chores and help on farms during the summers. Even though in today’s more urban society students no longer need to do this type of work, schools have been slow to change “the way things have always been done.”
More children spend their early years in child care, pre-school or in front of a television, rather than at home with a parent as they might have a century ago. As children grow older, many of their parents struggle to find adequate after-school care for them.
Nowhere is the harm of variable standards, which guide teaching, greater than in the core academic subjects of reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. Despite the importance of reading, most students in the United States still struggle to attain basic literacy. Over one-third of all fourth-graders read below basic levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and this number is higher for certain “groups” of students, such as low-income and ethnic race. International comparisons make clear that American students have just as significant shortcomings in math and science as in reading.
Because there is such a variation in testing and standards, it is difficult for both parents and teachers to accurately and meaningfully gauge how well students are learning when compared with their peers across the nation.
The proportion of students achieving at the proficient level on national measures, such as the NAEP test, can vary greatly from the proportion attaining proficiency on state achievement tests. Students who appear to be proficient by their own state’s standards may actually not be getting the education they need to excel in another state, much less the global economy.
Students many times do not see the need for school when subjects taught are not made to be relevant to their everyday life.
Students need to be given the tools to compete on a global level – and that’s just not happening consistently.
Students need to learn more problem-solving skills. They need to be able to analyze, interpret, infer and eventually come up with new ways of thinking. These are the skills needed in businesses today.
While we may have some of the best universities, American students are not the ones taking advantage of them. In order to compete globally, our students need to be preparing themselves better in both math and science.
As can be seen here, the biggest percentage of students are high school graduates, and their earnings for one year are just above what is considered the poverty level.
Instruction should be differentiated, engaging and inspiring. Curriculum should be rigorous, international and job relevant. Assessments should be valid and reliable and should include both the formative and summative types.
The Need For Change
The Need for Changein Today’s Education<br />
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The way we educate today IS BROKEN, and we definitely do NEED TO FIX IT!<br />“Today's students face more and stiffer competition than ever before.”<br />Alliance for Excellent Education <br />
Are we doing enough?<br />In mathematics<br />In science<br />
TIMSSTrends in International Mathematics and Science Study<br />At the 4th grade level in math, 23% scored at the advanced level in Japan, while only 10% scored at the advanced level in the United States.<br />At the 8th grade level in math, 26% scored at the advanced level in Japan, while only 6% scored at the advanced level in the United States.<br />The percentage in the United States was higher than in Germany, Italy, and Scotland, but lower than in the Russian Federation, England, and Japan.<br />
TIMSSTrends in International Mathematics and Science Study<br />At the 4th grade level in science, 16% of Japanese students scored at the advanced level, while 15% of students in the United States scored at the advanced level.<br />At the 8th grade level in science, 17% of Japanese students scored at the advanced level, while only 10% of students in the United States scored at the advanced level.<br />The United States was consistently higher than Scotland, but lower than all other countries participating in the study.<br />
As globalization has progressed, American educational progress has stagnated.<br />
The United States ranked 15th of 29 OECD countries in reading literacy <br />The United States ranked 21st of 30 OECD countries in scientific literacy <br />The United States ranked 25th of 30 OECD countries in mathematics literacy<br />The United States ranked 24th of 29 OECD countries in problem solving<br />Alliance for Excellent Education<br /> Fact Sheet March 2008<br />According to the U.S. Dept. of Education:<br />
Time<br />Standards, Expectations, and Accountability<br />Dropout rates<br />Other factors to consider:<br />
The amount of time students spend in school – between six and seven hours from September to June – is a result of the way schools have always operated.<br />TIME<br />
About 32% of children now grow up in single-parent households.<br /> In over two-thirds of families with school-age children, both parents work outside the home.<br /> 14 million children in the U.S. return to an empty home when the dismissal bell rings.<br />U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College, and After-school Alliance<br />TIME<br />
TIME“Many of the countries that outperformthe United States on international comparisonsof student performance keep their students in school longer.” TIMSS<br />
little common understanding across states about what students need to know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school<br />little consensus on what constitutes “rigorous”<br />great variation in the clarity and coherence of state curriculum standards in subject areas within and across grade levels<br />STANDARDS, EXPECTATIONS, AND ACCOUNTABILITY<br />
standards for what students must master are presented as challenging but in practice are watered down<br />each state chooses its own test to measure student performance and defines its own level for “proficiency” on that test<br />STANDARDS, EXPECTATIONS, AND ACCOUNTABILITY<br />
STANDARDS, EXPECTATIONS, AND ACCOUNTABILITYSkinner, Ronald A., “State of the States,” Education Week, Jan. 6, 2005.<br />
47% stated a major reason was that classes were not interesting.<br />63% stated they were “bored.”<br />32% wanted to get a job and make money.<br />Other reasons given varied, but included failing grades, truancy, pregnancy, too much freedom and not enough rules. <br />Information obtained from “The Silent Epidemic”<br />Why students dropout:<br />
“High school dropouts, on average, earn $9,200 less per year than high school graduates, and about $1 million less over a lifetime than college graduates.”<br />“Studies show that the lifetime cost to the nation for each youth who drops out of school and later moves into a life of crime and drugs ranges from $1.7 to $2.3 million.”<br />National Center on Educational Statistics<br />Facts about Dropouts<br />
Report: 21st century skills, education & competitiveness<br />“Every aspect of our education system—preK–12, postsecondary and adult education, after-school and youth development, workforce development and training, and teacher preparation programs—must be aligned to prepare citizens with the 21st century skills they need to compete.”<br />
“Economic success is increasingly based on the effective utilization of intangible assets, such as knowledge, skills, and innovative potential as the key resource for competitive advantage.”—Economic and Social Research Council, 2005<br />
“Because other nations have, and probably willcontinue to have, the competitive advantage of a low wage structure, the United States must compete by optimizing its knowledge-based resources, particularly in science and technology, and by sustaining the most fertile environment for new and revitalized industries and the well-paying jobs they bring.”—Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Committee on Prosperingin the Global Economy of the 21st Century: An Agenda forAmerican Science and Technology. National Academy ofSciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute ofMedicine, 2007<br />
According to U.S. News & World Report, “56% of engineering ph.d’s awarded in the u.s.a. go to foreign born students” who have come to the u.s. to complete their college degrees. 3/27/06<br />“America’s lead over its economic rivals has been entirely forfeited, with many nations surging ahead in school attainment. … The skills slowdown is the biggest issue facing the country. … [t]his slow-moving problem, more than any other, will shape the destiny of the nation.”<br />--DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST, 2008<br />
Median Earnings in the Past 12 Months<br />(in 2009 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)<br />Less than high school graduate $19,989<br />High school graduate (includes equivalency) $27,448<br />Some college or associate’s degree $33,838<br />Bachelor’s degree $47,853<br />Graduate or professional degree $63,174<br />Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-2008 American Community Survey<br />Population 25 years and over<br />Less than 9th grade 6.4%<br />9th to 12th grade, no diploma 9.1%<br />High school graduate (includes equivalency) 29.6%<br />Some college, no degree 20.1%<br />Associate’s degree 7.4%<br />Bachelor’s degree 17.3%<br />Graduate or professional degree 10.1%<br />Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-2008 American Community Survey<br />